A 1744 rhyme entitled “Base-ball.”
This week I’m in Cincinnati, which may be home to the oldest professional baseball team, founded in 1863.
Some say the Atlanta Braves are the oldest baseball team, founded as the Boston Red Stocking in 1871. 1871 is when Major League Baseball began.
A 1744 publication in England by John Newbery called A Little Pretty Pocket-Book includes a woodcut of stoolball and a rhyme entitled “Base-ball.”
This is the first known instance of the word baseball in print. The book was very popular in England, and was later published in Colonial America in 1762. In 1748, the family of Frederick, Prince of Wales partook in the playing of a baseball-like game. A 1791 bylaw in Pittsfield, Massachusetts bans the playing of baseball within 80 yards of the town meeting house.
In 1845, the Knickerbocker Club of New York City began using Elysian Fields in Hoboken to play baseball due to the lack of suitable grounds on Manhattan. In 1846, the Knickerbockers played the New York Nine on these grounds in the first organized game between two clubs. A plaque, and baseball diamond street pavings at 11th and Washington Streets commemorate the event. By the 1850s, several Manhattan-based members of the National Association of Base Ball Players were using the grounds as their home field.